Berlin — Germany is bracing for major disruptions to transportation across much of the country on Monday after two trade unions called for a day-long strike in the transport sector.
The trade unions EVG and Verdi on Thursday announced the joint industrial action, which comes after numerous previous strikes that have hit all parts of the German economy in recent months.
"There will be severe delays and even disruption of transport services in all the affected areas across the country," the unions said.
Verdi's leader, Frank Werneke, vowed on Thursday that the strikes will have "a massive effect" on the country.
Verdi called on its members in seven German states to walk out from airports and from their jobs in local public transport.
The Verdi and EVG trade unions predicted that the strike would shutter some motorway tunnels, disrupt long-distance and regional rail services, paralyse local public transit in several German states and disrupt maritime shipping at ports and on waterways.
As many as 380,000 airline travellers "will not be able to take their flights" because of the planned strikes, the German airport association ADV warned. The union has called on workers at all German airports except Berlin to walk off the job.
Workers at numerous locks on important waterways plan to strike as well, Verdi's deputy federal chairwoman, Christine Behle, said on Thursday. So will workers at the port in Hamburg, the country's largest. A strike by some workers in Hamburg had already closed the port to larger container vessels on Thursday.
The strike is intended to increase the pressure on the government and local authorities for a third round of negotiations starting on Monday.
The Verdi union is demanding a 10.5% pay rise and at least €500 more per month for public sector workers.
German national rail service Deutsche Bahn warned of "massive impairments" for its railway operations due to the looming strike. Other rail companies are also expected to be affected.
Deutsche Bahn said it is preparing steps to assist passengers and that more details would follow.
ADV, the airport association, denounced the unions' calls as a "strike escalation based on the French model" and said it has damaged Germany's image among global air travellers.
The unions are departing from "the tried and tested tradition that solutions are achieved at the negotiating table in Germany," ADV general manager Ralph Beisel said on Thursday.
Deutsche Bahn called the strike "groundless and unnecessary" and sharply criticised railway and transit union EVG.
"Our employees and passengers now need a quick solution, not a big strike," Deutsche Bahn HR director Martin Seiler said.
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